While at church, I heard someone comment about Robin Williams, “Fame & money didn’t help him. He needed faith”. That was a sad and ignorant statement! I have faith but that doesn’t make me immune to depression and mental health issues.
I have been consumed by the dark fog of depression and despair many times. Sometimes it is so dark and deep, that I can’t find the words or the energy to pray. I can barely breathe. I’ll open my mouth . . . but there are no words; only tears running down my face. The feelings of hopelessness and helplessness can be all consuming. I’ve been on that slippery slope.
I thank God for His love and grace, and for my professional counselors and my dear friends who have pulled me out of that darkness. I know the Bible verses about faith and not worrying. There are times when it’s hard for me to get the strength to read or even think about those verses. Sometimes it’s hard to hold on to faith. I can’t explain what it’s like when your brain is in a dark void, and where rational thinking isn’t an option. To hear someone say, “Where’s your faith?”, “The Bible says ‘fear not'”, or “Cheer up!”, while I’m in that dark place, will actually pull me farther into the place that I’m desperately trying to get out of.
There are some people who will hear “All you need is faith” and not seek the help/medication they need because they feel people will think they are weak. So instead of getting help they suffer silently; ashamed of what they are going through.
By saying “If he had more faith”, you are blaming him for his disorder/brain chemistry imbalance.
As a dear friend of mine said in a sad response to these remarks, “And the stigma continues”.
If you have not been effected by depression or a chemical imbalance, you have no room to talk. Please know your facts. Don’t be so quick to judge. Reach out to those who are struggling with mental health issues, but don’t try to “fix” them. Be the shoulder they need to cry on, an ear to listen, or just check in on them. Don’t let those who are suffering from mental illness suffer alone or slip through the cracks.
It rained hard the day Robin Williams died. I’d like to think it was because he was up in Heaven telling jokes and everyone was laughing so hard they cried.